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Minister Wallace Launches Farm Energy - Farm Diversification Manual

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today officially launched the Farm Energy-Farm Diversification Manual, a joint publication by Teagasc, the IFA and LEADER in the Irish Farm Centre, Bluebell, Dublin 12.

Welcoming the publication, Minister Wallace said "the wealth of information provided in this Farm Diversification Manual is of importance to all concerned with the bioenergy area and provides a useful reference point for farmers, foresters and other operators interested in producing energy from the land. It provides a comprehensive guide to growing a wide variety of energy crops and highlights the possibilities to produce energy from wood biomass and anaerobic digestion".

The Minister outlined the various measures introduced by her Department to support the bioenergy sector, including the new National Energy Crop Premium of €80 per hectare, willow and miscanthus establishment grants of €1,450 per hectare, some €7 million for agri-energy research and development, €4m for on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities and €1.2 million for wood biomass harvesting equipment.

Noting that over 150 applications have been received for establishment grants to plant miscanthus and willow, the Minister welcomed the positive response from farmers to this measure, "I am encouraged by the number of applications received and it shows the potential we have in Ireland to grow biomass crops", she added that "developing an indigenous bioenergy sector makes good economic and environmental sense and also offers good prospects for farmers who wish to diversify their farm enterprises".

The Minister concluded by thanking all those involved in preparing the Farm Diversification Manual and said it is easy to read and accessible format will undoubtedly prove popular with readers and raise awareness of the opportunities to produce bioenergy in Ireland.

Date Released: 07 April 2008